Home Is Where The Heart Is
Jesus, the High Priest and Apostle of our faith was not only given, but also sent. The word Apostle means “sent”. And so when we hear “for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” we can know that it means that He also sent His Son. This is how He expressed His love, not only by giving His Son, but also by sending His Son.
Through the expression of His love for us, by sending His Son, we read Jesus saying to His disciples, “As My Father sent Me, so I send you” – John 20: 21. He also said that that the world will know that they are His disciples when they love one another. In this we see that the Lord connects the loving and the sending. This love is expressed by the laying down of your life as mentioned in John 15. Even so, He laid down His life as the sent One for us. Not just the life here on earth to be crucified, but the life He had in His Father, being vitally connected and One with Him in the Holy Spirit. Have we considered that price?
Jesus asked Peter three times whether he loved Him and at the third told him, “Feed My sheep”. The whole purpose behind the sending is the feeding of the sheep. Even so Jesus came as the One sent to save the lost sheep of Israel.
As of late the Holy Spirit is talking to me continuously about being sent and exactly what it means. Such a small word with such a great significance. We read in the Scriptures how with Jesus and His disciples staying in one place was not an option. Being sent meant to go wherever He leads. Just as they were getting comfortable and settled in one place, they received their marching orders to go and feed the sheep. Sometimes it was whole areas, other times just that one person. Always requiring obedience and a call to walk by faith.
Luke 9: 1 - 3
1Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.
How many of us are willing to just leave a place without anything, save that which is on our back? When we go camping, we have the house on our back like tortoises…not willing to leave anything behind. I have to wonder how many times they were told just like Abraham that they are to go, without knowing where they are to go. Completely surrendered to the guidance of the Spirit. They were sojourners, not just because they are not of this world, but sojourners even whilst being in this world.
Jesus said, “Follow Me”. I am reminded of something He said to me years ago. “The sheep are called to follow the Shepherd and not the sheep”. This was related to the fact that I could see that the moment a new book, or movie or trend has arrived in the Christian arena, all the sheep herded together to go see and experience this new “thing”. For me this became a warning sign as I started to learn that the way of those who follow the Shepherd is often in loneliness, because so few follow Him the way they should. I live in farmland and sheep can be loud! Very demanding wooly creatures that are frightened quite easily. Always huddled together. In one sense this is for their safety, but when it comes to having to go somewhere, they easily follow the wayward sheep. I guess we would like to romanticize this nomadic lifestyle of the disciples because of their great exploits, but in reality I can see that there was a very real price to pay each time their hearts grew to love those around them. New friendships were formed and I can see how the children flocked around them, even as the people hung unto Paul and kissed him when he had to leave.
37 And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him,
Jesus also said, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head – Luke 9: 58. He was not saying that he slept outside, although I am sure there were many occasion that they had to. He meant that He did not have a permanent home. At this junction I have to ask, have you made where you are at your permanent home? Whether your actual home or even your place of ministry? Maybe the season you are in? Have you made sure that the tent pens of your tent are so securely grounded that not even God can move you?
A while ago Father told me “Possess nothing in your heart, but Me”. What He meant with this was that the love I am to show to others, cannot be my own. It has to be His love. Being in my heart, makes my heart His permanent residence, as if to say that now He has a place to lay His head. Just like John laid his head on Jesus’ bosom (heart), so Jesus lays His head on our bosom…HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS. This is to say that wherever He goes, I go and wherever I go, He goes. Never leaving home. Oh the love of God!! Who can fathom such a love for us, who laid down His life to make His life in us? I am overwhelmed by His love!
What then are we to do with regard to the fact that He says that we are to love one another? It simply means that EVERYTHING we have is to be held loosely in our hands, so that at any time He may take or give, or in this case…send. How tight is your grip on those you love? And how quickly are you offended by those that seem to hold you loosely? Do you feel rejected and unloved by what seems to you as indifference and see them as just moving on, “leaving” you as if you do not matter? Do you have a need that they have to always and forever be there for you, because according to you this is what love is? Can you bear to bless the ones He is sending just as the disciples were sent and blessed by those who had to stay? There is a price to pay for the ones sent, but also those who stay behind.
Are you a “sent” one? Or are you going to stay? Feeding His sheep as a sent one is to fulfill the mandate of what it means to be an Apostle. This is how He said to Peter to express the love Peter had for Him, by feeding His sheep. I imagine that a shepherd is rather a poor shepherd if he owns a few camps with sheep, but only tend to the one camp. Have you been paying attention to just one camp, not adhering to the call of the other sheep He is wanting to send you to? Has He called you to go, but you are choosing to stay? I am not saying go feed another shepherd’s sheep. I am asking, are you going where He sends you?
If ever there was a time that sheep are hungry, it is now. This is what it comes down to…laying your life down. The life that comes out of your death to self in leaving, will feed the sheep. Obedience carries with it great reward. He says that He gives His Spirit to those who obey – Acts 5: 32. This life that springs up from death, is resurrection life now. It is also that which we stand to forfeit if we do not go and the life that the sheep we are to feed will not get from us. We become like a river that does not flow and therefore have no life in it and our staying will cause that river to dry up.
May we ask ourselves afresh whether we have let go. Whether we have stayed, when we should have gone. Can you bear to go where He sends you if it means that the intimate relationships formed may grow distant, not because there is no more love, but because you are being sent? We read that Father told Adam and Eve that the man shall leave father and mother and cleave to his wife - leaving and cleaving. As the second Adam, Jesus left His home to cleave to His Bride. There is no cleaving without a leaving first. And the leaving we are doing is not that of leaving those we love, but the leaving of a season, where He clearly states in Proverbs 16:9, - A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.
We are leaving in order to cleave even more to Him and not to cleave to each other. For our obedience to His direction will cause that union we so desperately desire. Jesus told His disciples that if He did not go that He could not send His Spirit. They were not too happy with Him. He told them that only then He would be in them and that His Spirit would guide them in all truth and remind them of the things He said. Therein lies a promise we should not miss. “I will give My Spirit when I go.” When you go when He sends you, He will give you the provision, just like He did with His disciples that were ordered not to take anything with them. But not only that. When you go, He will send His Spirit to those you leave behind and He Himself will take care of them. Is your staying taking from those you love that which He wants to give them? Trusting that He loves them far more that you could ever love them. This lies at the heart of leaving. Do you trust Him to take care of them? And the reality is that He too needs to be able to trust you to go when He says go and that He can depend on you that I will obey and trust Him.
As I wrote this, my husband came into the room to tell me a dove flew into one of the rooms. Father speaks to me often through birds, particularly doves. When I got there, the dove was just simply sitting on a chair. Unharmed. Usually doves are easily frightened and will make a whole mess. I went to the dove and still it did not move. Very strange. So I thought not to scare the poor thing and gently picked up the chair, with dove still sitting on the chair to put the chair outside. In this way it could just fly away without me even touching it. The dove still sat there frozen. I had to pick it up and place it in a safe place where my cat cannot get to it. The Spirit spoke to me in that instance. We prefer the comfort of the chair where we do not need to move. We would rather stay where we are at without rocking the boat. Often we are frozen by fear. And if we do not go when He says go, He will have to physically remove us. We can either choose to go or He will remove us. What is at stake is that the dove resembles the Spirit of God who desires to go into all the world and make disciples…not converts. Good as that may be, we are to make disciples. Have you read the criteria of a disciples lately?
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
In the time we are about to go in, there will be those who still cleave to those they love and are not willing to leave. They will want to protect their loved ones and provide for them. This seems logical, loving and even spiritual. But what is at stake is the Kingdom of God. What is at stake here is those who are lost and will endure eternal damnation because they became converts, but never disciples. The Church at present is full of converts, but very few disciples. And because of the terrible wrath of God about to fall upon this earth they will die in their compromise, because those who are filled with His Spirit, chose to sit like that dove on their comfortable chair. Those who are led by the Spirit of God are called the sons of God. I am not saying that we are to neglect our families and loved ones. What I am asking is, can you leave them so that Father can look after them when the time comes? If you have not left them in your heart now, how will you leave them when it actually requires you to physically remove yourself and go where He sends you? Are you still cleaving to your children? Do you have to be in control of every aspect of their lives? Are you still monitoring your husband’s every move and cannot bare that he refuses to bow his knee to the Lord? Seeing that God is not doing anything you take over? Are you cleaving to that job, that dream job that gives you so much pleasure and in the process your quiet time suffers under your priorities? Is your ministry your be all and end all? Is it your identity and that by which you are known? Can you leave it in a split second should He ask you? Or will you feel utter destitution as if you are left in empty space, no longer grounded? What are you still holding onto and therefore cause yourself to be disqualified as His disciple? Now is of the essence here. Now, in the day that you hear the Spirit speak to you do not harden your heart.
There is going to be a great reunion one day and we will surely rejoice in His wisdom and perfect timing in all things, as we see Him, and sing and shout the victory! The time is short, let us number our days and be busy about our Father’s work whilst it is still day, because night is near.
John 15: 12 - 27
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.